Archie Granot’s Contemporary Papercut Haggadah

26 Mar

In the tradition of innovative contemporary Jewish papercut arts, comes “The Papercut Haggadah” by Archie Granot.

Commissioned by Sandra and Max Thurm, Archie Granot’s Papercut Haggadah was handcrafted using the Jewish folk art tradition of papercutting. The result is a series of 55 pages that employ intricate geometric and abstract shapes and calligraphic text to create an exquisite version of the Haggadah.

Granot evokes the intense emotions attached with the Passover Seder by utilizing geometric and abstract shapes instead of the usual symbols. Every word of Hebrew text in his Haggadah is handcut, with each page standing as both an independent work of art and a single piece of a beautiful, thematically unified whole. Each page of his multi-layered paper pieces (some nearly an inch thick) tackles a certain aspect or song associated with the Seder, such as “Ma Nishtanah” (מה נשתנה, The Four Questions), or “Pesach, Matzah, Maror” (פֶּסַח, The Passover Offering; מצה, the Unleavened Bread; and מרור, the Bitter Herb), which incorporates shapes that evoke the traditional matzah.

(Above) Archie Granot. Page 39 from The Papercut Haggadah, 1998 – 2007. Cut paper. 15.25 x 21 x 1.5 in. Collection of Sandra and Max Thurm.

About the artist

Archie Granot was born in London in 1946 and moved to Israel in 1967. Prior to settling in Jerusalem in 1978, he was a member of an agricultural community where he milked cows and grew melons. He earned a M.Phil. in Russian Studies from the University of Glasgow, Scotland and a B.A. in Political Science and Russian Studies from the Hebrew University, Jerusalem. Granot started papercutting in 1979, and currently has his own studio and gallery in Jerusalem. Many of his papercuts carry a reminder of the Holy City, a source of his inspiration, and he often employs texts that relate to Israel, Judaism, and Judaica. Granot has had solo exhibitions in the United States, Israel, and Germany, and has participated in group exhibitions in France and Japan. Granot’s works are found in public collections in Israel, Germany, England, and the United States, as well as numerous private collections.

The exhibition continues until May 20 at The Museum of Contemporary Religious Art, at Saint Louis University.

Also posted on Alpha Omega Arts

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